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JENNY HVAL

Jenny Hval

The Practice Of Love

    At first listen, The Practice of Love, Jenny Hval’s seventh full-length album, unspools with an almost deceptive ease. Across eight tracks, filled with arpeggiated synth washes and the kind of lilting beats that might have drifted, loose and unmoored, from some forgotten mid-’90s trance single, The Practice of Love feels, first and foremost, compellingly humane. Given the horror and viscera of her previous album, 2016’s Blood Bitch, The Practice of Love is almost subversive in its gentleness—a deep dive into what it means to grow older, to question one’s relationship to the earth and one’s self, and to hold a magnifying glass over the notion of what intimacy can mean. As Hval describes it, the album charts its own particular geography, a landscape in which multiple voices engage and disperse, and the question of connectedness—or lack thereof—hangs suspended in the architecture of every song. It is,an album about “seeing things from above—almost like looking straight down into the ground, all of these vibrant forest landscapes, the type of nature where you might find a porn magazine at a certain place in the woods and everyone would know where it was, but even that would just become rotting paper, eventually melting into the ground.”

    Prompted by an urge to find a different kind of language to express what she was feeling, the songs on Love unfurl like an interior dialogue involving several voices. Friends and collaborators Vivian Wang, Laura Jean Englert, and Felicia Atkinson surface on various tracks, via contributed vocals or through bits of recorded conversation, which further posits the record itself as a kind of ongoing discourse. “The last thing I wrote, which was my new book, had quite an angry voice,” says Hval, “The voice of an angry teenager, furious at the hierarchies. Perhaps this album rediscovers that same voice 20 years later. Not so angry anymore, but still feeling apart from the mainstream, trying to find their place and their community. With that voice, I wanted to push my writing practice further, writing something that was multilayered, a community of voices, stories about both myself and others simultaneously, or about someone’s place in the world and within art history at the same time. I wanted to develop this new multi-tracked writing voice and take it to a positive, beautiful pop song place... A place which also sounds like a huge pile of earth that I’m about to bury my coffin in.”

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: 'The Practice Of Love' is a huge, synthy behemoth of an album, percussive and momentous, but wonderfully balanced with Hval's spellbinding vocals echoing over the top. Shining with influences from all over the dance spectrum, with Italo basses and trancy stacked waves fading into jazzy wind instruments and hypnotic soaring harmonies.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Coloured LP Info: Limited sand coloured vinyl.
    Includes eight tarot cards, each corresponding to a song on the record.

    Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

    Norwegian artist Jenny Hval announces the release of her new album, Blood Bitch via Sacred Bones. Co-produced with acumen noise producer Lasse Marhaug, Blood Bitch is in many respects a complete 180° from her last album, Apocalypse, girl, in subject matter, execution and production. It is Hval’s most focused album, but the lens is filtered through a gaze which the viewer least expects.

    In the words of Jenny Hval: “Blood Bitch is an investigation of blood. Blood that is shed naturally. The purest and most powerful, yet most trivial, and most terrifying blood: Menstruation. The white and red toilet roll chain which ties together the virgins, the whores, the mothers, the witches, the dreamers, and the lovers. Blood Bitch is also a fictitious story, fed by characters and images from horror and exploitation films of the '70s. With that language, rather than smart, modern social commentary, I found I could tell a different story about myself and my own time: a poetic diary of modern transience and transcendence. There is a character in this story that is a vampire Orlando, traveling through time and space. But there is also a story here of a 35-year old artist stuck in a touring loop, and wearing a black wig. She is always up at night, jet lagged, playing late night shows - and by day she is quietly resting over an Arp Odyssey synthesizer while a black van drives her around Europe and America. So this is my most fictional and most personal album. It’s also the first album where I’ve started reconnecting with the goth and metal scene I started out playing in many years ago, by remembering the drony qualities of Norwegian Black Metal. It’s an album of vampires, lunar cycles, sticky choruses, and the smell of warm leaves and winter.”

    Jenny Hval has developed her distinct take on intimate sound since the release of her debut album in 2006. For her last two solo albums, 2013's Innocence Is Kinky and 2015’s Apocalypse, girl, Hval has received thoughtful and widespread international acclaim for her fascinating voice, singular delivery and markedly non-traditional arrangements which incorporate elements of poetry, prose writing,
    performance art, and film. She eloquently brings to light issues of both male and female gaze.


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: It sounds like Hval may have just written her opus. Subversive synthetic rhythms and churning drones are cut through with stunningly serene moments (Conceptual Romance is a particularly stunning interlude after an abstract trio of mood-setting numbers). Spoken word samples set the tone to a backdrop of meditative swirls and vocal swoops on 'Untamed Region' while follower 'The Great Undressing' is brilliantly syncopated spoken/sung words over the backdrop of almost utopian arpeggios and crescentic pads. Harsh moments make the lucid intervals all the more stunning, revealing the beauty behind the struggles, accentuating both the highs and lows. Masterpiece.

    Think big, girl, like a king, think kingsize. Jenny Hval’s new record opens with a quote from the Danish poet Mette Moestrup, and continues towards the abyss. Apocalypse, girl is a hallucinatory narrative that exists somewhere between fiction and reality, a post-op fever dream, a colourful timelapse of death and rebirth, close-ups of impossible bodies — all told through the language of impossible pop music.

    When Norwegian noise legend Lasse Marhaug interviewed Jenny Hval for his fanzine in early 2014, they started talking about movies, and the conversation was so interesting that she asked him to produce her next record. It turned out that talking about film was a great jumping off point for album production. Hval’s songs slowly expanded from computer loops and vocal edits to band mates Håvard Volden and Kyrre Laastad — and finally exploding into collaborations from Øystein Moen (Jaga Jazzist/Puma), Thor Harris (Swans), improv cellist Okkyung Lee and harpist Rhodri Davis. All of these musicians have two things in common: they are fierce players with a great ear for intimacy, and they hear music in the closing of a suitcase as much as in a beautiful melody.

    And so Apocalypse, girl is a very intimate, very visual beast. It dreams of an old science fiction movie where gospel choir girls are punks and run the world with auto-erotic impulses. It’s a gentle hum from a doomsday cult, a soft desire for collective devotion, an ode to the close-up and magnified, unruly desires. Jenny Hval has developed her own take on intimate sound since the release of her debut album in 2006. Her work, which includes 2013's critically celebrated Innocence Is Kinky (Rune Grammophone), has gradually incorporated books, sound installations and collaborations with poets and visual artists. For Hval, language is central, always torn between the vulnerable, the explosive and total humiliation.



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